Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that calls for refusal to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) pose a severe threat to the future of the State of Israel, and could spread beyond those who oppose the government’s judicial overhaul. The prime minister has expressed his concern, stating that the security establishment needs to adopt a “firm stand against” the phenomenon, which has been growing among those who stand firmly opposed to the government’s plans to radically shake up the judiciary. Many groups of elite IDF reservists from all branches of the military have declared that they will not continue to serve if the government’s program is enacted.
The Future of Israel at Risk
The prime minister emphasized that the country cannot exist without the IDF, and there will not be a nation if the calls for refusal continue. Netanyahu noted that all red lines have been crossed, and people responsible for the security of the country have suddenly adopted cynicism.
Impact of the Proposed Judicial Reforms
The legislative push by the government to reform the judiciary, including giving the coalition widespread control over the appointment of Israel’s judges, has sparked protests and widespread opposition in the army’s ranks. Netanyahu said he expects the security establishment to stand firm against the phenomenon, which has been growing in recent weeks among those who stand firmly opposed to the government’s plans.
Memorial Day and Political Ends
Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke out against concerns that the intense protests and divides could color Israel’s national Memorial Day next month, stating that he spoke out strongly against any attempts to use Memorial Day to political ends.
The legislative package proposed by the government will greatly expand political control over Israel’s High Court, allowing the Knesset to override court decisions with the barest majority, preemptively shield laws from judicial oversight, and put the selection of judges in the hands of coalition politicians. While supporters say the judicial overhaul will rebalance power away from an overly activist court, critics argue the moves will remove essential checks on executive and legislative power, putting democracy in peril and leaving many basic rights unprotected.